Tropical Gardening — Vitamins abound
Sunday, January 15 2:10 am
Lucky we live Hawaii, but we can learn a lot from gardeners on other tropical islands. Right now, we are in the Dominican Republic working with farmers on a project sponsored by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, or FAVACA.
Voltaire Moise, who is from Haiti, is working on the uses of edible crops while I work on some of the production problems. Like the folks in the Dominican Republic, we in Hawaii can grow almost anything. We have many climates, depending on elevation and whether you are on the rain-swept eastern side or the dryer leeward part of the island.
Below 2,000 feet we grow the tropicals and above we can grow the warm, temperate and even cool season crops. Tropical fruits are the favorite for most, since they are varied and unusual.
Many of these fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and energy.
So instead of popping vitamin pills every day, we should consider fruit. Those vitamin pills on your shelf, besides being pretty expensive items, are not nearly as palatable and eye appealing as fresh fruit — especially when it is grown in your own backyard. Continue reading
Japanese consumers will likely be seeing genetically modified papayas on their grocery shelves beginning in December.
The Japanese government’s Consumer Affairs Agency on Thursday approved rainbow papayas for sale in that country.
The papayas had previously been approved by Japan’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Health, Labour and Welfare ministries. The strain was approved for sale in the U.S. in 1998 and in Canada in 2003.
The Japanese labeling approval was the last step to get the papayas introduced into Japan — there will be a three-month waiting period before the papayas are available.
“The approval by the Japanese government has been slow but thorough,” Delan Perry, the vice president of the Hawaii Papaya Industry, said. “They asked a lot of questions.”
It’s a process that’s taken 10 years.
“It’s an important approval as far as the technology,” said Perry, who is a papaya grower in Kapoho.
The papayas were engineered to resist papaya ring spot virus, which was discovered in the Puna area in 1992 and severely damaged crops there.
To create the resistance to the virus, scientists fused the DNA of the virus into the genetic makeup of a papaya, creating a new strain.
Dennis Gonsalves, the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, said it’s similar to a vaccination in animals.
The rainbow’s introduction “controlled the virus in Hawaii,” Gonsalves said. “It essentially saved the industry in Hawaii.”
While Gonsalves — who worked with a group of fellow public sector scientists to create the genetically modified fruit — and others say the introduction of rainbow papayas was essential, some disagree. Continue reading
KAILUA-KONA (AP) – After 14 years of serving the Big Island, financially strapped Japan Airlines has ended its flight between Tokyo and Kona International Airport.
Passengers arriving Friday on JAL Flight 70 from Narita International Airport were greeted with lei and live Hawaiian music, the Big Island Visitors Bureau said.
JAL offered the only direct international flight outside of North America to the Big Island, the bureau said. Since the inaugural Kona flight in June 1996, JAL has carried more than 980,000 visitors between Narita and Kona, it said.
”It is also a vital carrier of Big Island exports including macadamia nuts, papayas, coffee, spirulina, abalone and desalinated sea water to the Japanese market,” the bureau said in a news release.
”The JAL flight is without a doubt the most important international route for Hawaii island. The positive impact it has made on our economy for the last 14 years is highly significant, and we truly hope to welcome JAL back someday,” Continue reading
In 2008, a report from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and the state Department of Agriculture estimated that between 85 percent and 90 percent of the state’s food was imported every year and concluded that there wasn’t much anyone could do to change the situation.
” … Even though Hawaii can conceivably grow anything that we consume, the quest to achieve 100% food self-sufficiency is impractical, unattainable and perhaps impossible, as it imposes too high a cost for society,” the researchers said.
Hawaii’s relatively small farms could never match the output or efficiency of the vast mechanized farms on the mainland, the report said. Island products would always be more expensive to grow and buy.
Still, the report was more a call to arms than a dark prophecy.
Pointing out that Hawaii’s geographic isolation left its food supply vulnerable to disruptions caused by forces and events beyond control, such as fuel costs, shipping strikes and farm production fluctuations, the report said it was of vital importance that the state not overlook the value of a small but thriving home-grown market.
A healthy agricultural base not only serves as a buffer against outside forces, it provides residents with fresher, tastier, healthier food and could put millions of dollars back into the island economy, the report said.
“I think we are at the crossroads,” says Dr. Matthew Loke, administrator of the state’s Agricultural Development Division and a co-author of the 2008 report with Dr. PingSun Leung of UH-Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. “Whether we can seize those opportunities or not, that’s our challenge.” Continue reading
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that more work needs to be done on an environmental assessment for a produce irradiator that’s proposed for a location near Honolulu International Airport.
The commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a ruling last week saying the NRC staff needs to consider alternate technology and sites in producing the assessment. The board’s decision said it expects the staff to give meaningful consideration to transportation accidents in preparing a final environmental assessment.
The ruling came after almost three years of discussion at the NRC, which has been considering Pa’ina Hawaii LLC’s request to build an irradiator that would use up to a million curries of cobalt-60 to treat local fruits such as papayas, vegetables and other items so they can be shipped to the Mainland insect-free.
The Oriental Fruit Fly
The adult Oriental fruit fly is somewhat larger than a housefly, about 8 mm in length. The body color is variable but generally bright yellow with a dark "T" shaped marking on the abdomen. The wings are clear. The female has a pointed slender ovipositor to deposit eggs under the skin of host fruit. Eggs are minute cylinders laid in batches. The maggots (larvae) are creamy-white, legless, and may attain a length of 10 mm inside host fruit.
The Oriental fruit fly has been established in Hawaii since 1946 where it is a major pest of agriculture, particularly on mangoes, avocados and papayas. Maggots have been found in over 125 kinds of fruit and vegetables in Hawaii alone. A great number of crops in California are threatened by the introduction of this pest, including pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, figs, citrus, tomatoes and avocados. It has been estimated that the cost of not eradicating Oriental fruit fly in California would range from $44 to $176 million in crop losses, additional pesticide use, and quarantine requirements.
Females lay eggs in groups of three to 30 under the skin of host fruits; the female can lay more than 1,000 eggs in her lifetime. Maggots tunnel through the fruit feeding on the pulp, shed their skins twice, and emerge through exit holes in approximately 10 days.
The larvae drop from the fruit and burrow two three cm into the soil to pupate. In 10 to 12 days, adults emerge from these puparia. The newly emerged adult females need eight to 12 days to mature sexually prior to egg laying. Breeding is continuous, with several annual generations. Adults live 90 days on the average and feed on honeydew, decaying fruit, plant nectar, bird dung and other substances. The adult is a strong flyer, recorded to travel 30 miles in search of food and sites to lay eggs. This ability allows the fly to infest new areas very quickly.
In excess of 230 fruits and vegetables have been attacked. Fruit that has been attacked may be unfit to eat as larvae tunnel through the flesh as they feed. Decay organisms enter, leaving the interior of the fruit a rotten mass.
Click Here for the PDF and file for the Hawaii Papayas Report.
Please visit the website for more information: http://www.nass.usda.gov/hi/
Mark E. Hudson, Director
USDA NASS Hawaii Field Office
1421 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814-2512
Office: (808) 973-9588 / (800) 804-9514
Fax: (808) 973-2909
"HAWAII PAPAYAS" reports are available on our website and also PRINTED monthly. Subscriptions for PRINTED copies are free to those persons who report agricultural data to NASS (upon request) and available for $4 per year to all others
FRESH PAPAYAS HIGHER FOR JUNE BUT LOWER FOR 1ST HALF OF 2009
Hawaii fresh papaya utilization is estimated at 2.6 million pounds for June 2009, down 1 percent from May 2009, but up 10 percent from June 2008. Fresh utilization for January to June of 2009 is 8 percent lower than the same period in 2008.
Total in crop acreage for June is estimated at 2,075, down 11 percent from March 2009, but 2 percent above June a year ago. Harvested area totaled 1,315 acres in June, 11 percent less than March 2009, but unchanged from last year.
Sunny weather and higher temperatures prevailed during June, aiding fruit development and ripening. Field preparation for new plantings was ongoing. Trade wind showers helped replenish soil moisture levels. Irrigation was stepped up in the drier areas. Orchards were in good to fair condition during the month.
Papaya growers are expected to receive an estimated 44.0 cents per pound for fresh fruit in June, unchanged from last month, but 11 percent (5.2 cents) lower than June a year ago.
There is a place for GMO. Check out this article from the “Wired Blog.” It makes a very lucid argument for the necessity of genetically engineered crops in sustainable agriculture.
Sustainably Engineered Organic
- By Bruce Sterling
- July 30, 2009
…checklist for truly sustainable agriculture in a global context. It must:
Provide abundant safe and nutritious food…. Reduce environmentally harmful inputs…. Reduce energy use and greenhouse gases…. Foster soil fertility…. Enhance crop genetic diversity…. Maintain the economic viability of farming communities…. Protect biodiversity…. and improve the lives of the poor and malnourished. (He pointed out that 24,000 a day die of malnutrition worldwide, and about 1 billion are undernourished.)
…But organic has limitations, he said. There are some pests, diseases, and stresses it can’t handle. Its yield ranges from 45% to 97% of conventional ag yield. It is often too expensive for low-income customers. At present it is a niche player in US agriculture, representing only 3.5%, with a slow growth rate suggesting it will always be a niche player.
Genetically engineered crops could carry organic farming much further toward fulfilling all the goals of sustainable agriculture, Raoul said, but it was prohibited as a technique for organic farmers in the standards and regulations set by the federal government in 2000.
Here is the PDF file for the Hawaii Crop Weather (crop progress and condition) Report for the week ending February 3, 2008.
Please visit the website for more information: http://www.nass.usda.gov/hi/
USDA NASS Hawaii Field Office
1421 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814-2512
1-800- 804-9514 February 3, 2008
“HAWAII CROP WEATHER” reports are available on our website and also PRINTED weekly. Subscriptions for PRINTED copies are free to those persons who report agricultural data to NASS, upon request and available for $20 per year to all others.
On the Big Island, mostly cloudy and rain-filled days slowed growth and fruit development during the week. The reduced sunlight also kept temperatures on the cool side. Incidences of Banana Bunchy Top virus remain isolated in the Puna and Kona areas. Overall, orchards in eastern sections of Hawaii County were in generally good condition. Oahu?s banana orchards were in fair condition. Fields in the leeward and central areas of Oahu made fair to good progress. Windward Oahu fields were in fair condition as cloudy conditions and cooler temperatures continued to slow crop progress and reduce yields. Kauai?s orchards were in fair condition. Harvesting was anticipated to remain steady during the coming weeks. Stripped leaves, as well as cooler temperatures and overcast skies, continued to slow crop development and fruit ripening.
Cool, wet conditions slowed orchard growth and fruit development on the Big Island. Orchards in the Puna district remained in fair to good condition. New seedlings established quickly with the high rainfall. Active flowering was evident in most fields, but the heavy rains made fieldwork difficult. Spraying will have to be maintained once the weather clears. Orchards on Oahu were in fair to poor condition. Spraying to control disease and insect infestations remained steady. Kauai?s orchards made fair progress during the week. Acreage for harvest is relatively small, and overall pickings are forecast to remain light. Spraying for disease control was delayed because of inclement weather conditions.
Calavo Growers is buying Hawaii Pride and Hawaiian Sweet
By Nina Wu
Calavo Growers of California has acquired papaya and tropical-product packing and processing operations on the Big Island for between $10 million and $14 million.
Calavo Growers is buying Hawaiian Sweet Inc. and Hawaii Pride LLC from Calavo’s chairman, president and CEO Lee E. Cole.
The deal gives Calavo operations that pack an estimated 65 to 70 percent of all Hawaiian-grown papayas and 80 percent of Hawaii’s exports to the mainland.
Calavo, which got its start in avocados, also acquired 3,000 acres on the Big Island, in addition to two fresh-papaya packinghouses and cooling facilities, and papaya and guava puree operations.
The acquisition comes on the heels of Calavo’s deal with Maui Pineapple Company Ltd. to sell, market and distribute its Maui Gold fresh product throughout the continental U.S. and Canada in December.
Calavo, which presently ships about 200,000 pounds of fresh papayas to the mainland per week, believes there is plenty of room for growth. Since 1949, the company has sold and marketed Hawaiian papayas, which continued after Cole’s acquisition of Hawaiian Sweet in the early 1990s.
"Calavo transitions from simply being paid a commission on its papaya sales to collecting full margin based on its ownership of the papaya and tropical-product operations," said Calavo chief operating officer Arthur J. Bruno. "We are confident that our company’s depth of financial and operational resources, along with a growing position in the tropical-produce category, can propel these acquired assets to the next level."
Bruno said the company anticipates increasing the earnings of both Hawaiian Sweet and Hawaiian Pride, including more than $8 million in tangible assets from the collective packing and processing facilities and agricultural land, he said